This Jamaican jerk marinade is an amazing way to flavor chicken for a summer cookout, but it’s also a great way to bring a little Caribbean sunshine to your table even during the gray-est, chilly-est months. We’ve tried a great many jerk recipes, but this is our hands down, #1 favorite. The sweet, savory, tangy and spicy blend is so satisfying and just plain “finger licking good”. How good is this jerk chicken on a Caribbean cha cha bowl, in a taco, or just alongside some rice and beans a and a few veggies? Well, you’re just going to have to try it to find out!
I know some pickier kids will object to all the spices. My kids have their picky days (weeks, months — sigh –) where these kind of bold flavors receive nothing but suspicious looks and grimaces. If that’s the case you can try going shorter on the marinating time and/or simplify the marinade by reducing or eliminating some of the spices. Or consider going in another direction….. pump up some reggae music and get the kids in the kitchen to help. They might just get inspired if they have the chance to get up close and personal with some of the interesting ingredients in this recipe…. and you might get a few brownie points if you let them run the blender.
Paul Chung’s Jamaican Jerk Marinade (from Food & Wine magazine)
Consider this a starting point for your adventures in jerk seasoning because you can adjust the flavors any which way to suit your family’s tastes or what you have on hand. I spoon only as much as I need over the chicken I’m marinating and then freeze any leftover marinade in a ziplock bag for another day (soooo great when you’re in a pinch).
Roughly chop and puree in a blender:
- 1 onion
- 3 scallions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon peppercorns
- 1 Tablespoon 5 spice powder
- 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or leaves from 1 fresh sprig)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 chiles of your choice (optional)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
Give everything one last good blitz in the blender and then spoon marinade over chicken, freezing extra marinade in a freezer safe container. Let the chicken marinate overnight.
Cook your chicken on the grill or roast it in then oven (giving it a few minutes under the broiler at the end of cooking). If you’re roasting/broiling, line your baking sheet with foil to save yourself some major clean up.